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It looks like 2022 will be a year of busy airports and booked-up hotels. More than 80 percent of Americans planned summer vacations this year, according to a survey by The Vacationer. With the current inflation, these travel plans might be surprising. But, given the pandemic summers when people couldn’t even touch their travel budgets, a lot of sojourners have energy and money pent up for an adventure. And, a family vacation can be a great way to reconnect with your loved ones and expand your horizons. There’s just one thing: who is watching your home?
A report from SecureAmerica states that home burglaries increase during the summer months. Criminals know just how many people leave their homes unattended while they go on vacation. But taking a family trip doesn’t have to mean leaving your home security – or your own safety – to chance. Here are travel safety tips for your overseas family vacation.
Keeping Your Home Safe
Have A Neighbor Check In
If you cannot find someone to house sit while you’re away, ask a neighbor to check in on your property a few times a week. They can look for any potential security risks that come up, like a finicky garage door, a broken window or a driveway light that’s gone out. If anyone is staking out your home for burglary, it’s also important that they see that someone stops into the house periodically.
Use Home Security Apps
Today, there are dozens of home security apps that will send alerts right to your smartphone. So you’ll be notified when someone enters the perimeter of your property, tries to open a door or window or trips the alarm. Pair these with surveillance cameras, and get an app that lets you check into the live feed of these cameras. Check these at least once a day and if you see something concerning, call your neighbor or the police.
Rely On Smart Home Devices
With so many smart home devices today, you can make it look like you’re home, even when you’re not. You can schedule music to play and lights to go on and off at certain times. To an onlooker, it will appear as if someone is occupying your home. You can even have your smart speakers play the sounds of a dog barking to make criminals believe you have a watchdog. (P.s. a study published in Social Forces found that neighborhoods with more dogs see less crime).
Don’t Post Until After Your Trip
No matter how tempting, don’t post photos and videos from your trip until after you’ve returned. Publishing this content in real-time alerts onlookers to the fact that your home is vacant – including people you don’t want to know that information.
Keep The Exterior Maintained
A neglected home exterior is another signal to burglars that nobody is home. So put a stop on your mail and newspaper while you’re away so that these items don’t pile up outside. Make sure the landscapers still stop by to maintain the property. Ask a neighbor to sweep the leaves from your driveway. If you park your cars in front, pay a neighbor to give these a wash while you’re away – cars collecting dust are a dead giveaway that nobody is home.
Keeping Your Family Safe
Share Your Itinerary With Family
Share a detailed itinerary with friends or family back at home. This will include the names and addresses of your accommodations, transportation tickets for everything from planes to trains to boats, names of people you’ll meet up with and tours you might have booked. Someone back at home should know where you’re supposed to be at any given moment on your trip, so if something happens, they can help authorities find you.
Find A Local Point Of Contact
Before going on your trip, reach out to your network and see if anyone knows someone at your destination. Having a trusted point of contact is always helpful, especially in foreign countries, and is one of the most useful travel safety tips. They can advise you on local customs, which areas are safe (and which are not), dining and entertainment advice and more. They can also help you navigate an emergency such as a medical event.
Check Your Medical Insurance
This is especially important when traveling abroad: check your family’s medical insurance. Make sure everyone can receive great coverage, even overseas. If this is not the case, purchase supplementary medical insurance. It is important that everything from an ambulance ride or airlift to a hospitalization would be covered abroad. This is one of the travel safety tips that could save a life.
Get Your Kids Wearable Tracking Devices
Purchase your children wearable tracking devices. Should you get separated, these will let you know where your children are at all times. Be sure to get devices that are waterproof and have long-lasting batteries. Ideally, these will not be Wi-Fi reliant, since your kids will often leave signal areas.
Give Children Information Cards
Give each member of your family an information card to keep in their wallet or backpack. This will have the name and address of your hotel, the name and phone number of your local contact, your kids allergies, and any other pertinent information an adult would need to help your children, should they get separated from you.